Gell employed a steward by the name of Christopher Plant (seen in the photo wearing replica Tudor clothing) who lived with his family in this small Tudor house and collected and managed the tithes from the area and rent from Gell’s tenants.

Henry VIII decided ecclesiastical establishments were too wealthy and he instituted a set of administrative and legal processes, between 1536 and 1541, by which he, with the aid of Thomas Cromwell, disbanded Catholic institutions, appropriating their income and disposing of the assets.

Once the monasteries etc. were brought to heel, Henry started looking further afield at the properties of the Collegiate Churches and Chantry Chapels with a view to acquiring their valuable assets as well.

The Dean and Chapter of Lichfield found themselves in a difficult position: would the King just assess the Cathedral property, or all the income Lichfield gained from other sources?

In the end, they decided to dispose of the Church benefices and in 1549, they sold their Bakewell lands including the Parsonage House to Ralph Gell. Gell also bought the rights to collect the tithes.

The Bakewell and District Historical Society was formed in the 1950s to save the building. This side of the house was in the worst condition. Note the sunlight coming through from the un-roofed floor above.

Witches' marks

Adjacent to the door leading from the Tudor Parlour to the Tudor Parlour Closet are some witches marks.



Apotropaic marks are symbols or patterns scratched into the fabric of the building with the intention of keeping witches out.

They are sometimes called "witches' marks" a term also used to denote identifying marks once thought to have been found on the bodies of witches.

It is believed evil could be held at bay through a wide variety of apotropaic objects such as amulets and talismans.

The marks are often scored or carved on doorways, near fireplaces, on window frames, or on old beams beneath the floor - all places witches were thought to have been able to enter.


Apotropaic mark have been found in many churches, at Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, at the Tower of London, and in February 2019, previously believed to have been graffiti, over 100 of these marks have been identified at Creswell Craggs in Nottinghamshire.

Various patterns are used. A flower-like pattern, over-lapping circles, criss-crossing lines to confuse any spirits, and the intertwined letters V & M or double V, for the Virgin Mary.

Bakewell Old House apotropaic marks can be found carved in the doorway of the Tudor Parlour. They consist of a heart-shape and a V alongside an inverted M.